Trine team advances to top 5 in national banking competition

June 07, 2023

CSBS
From left, Ethan Olnick, Jared Bowman, Francesco Mazzei, Brendan Prappas and Teddy Munn.
A team of business majors from Trine University’s Ketner School of Business has advanced to the top five in a national banking case study competition.

Trine’s team is made up of Jared Bowman, a finance major from Calgary, Alberta, Canada; Francesco Mazzei, a business administration major from Dearborn, Michigan; Teddy Munn, a business administration major from Carmel, Indiana; Ethan Olnick, a business administration major from Indianapolis; and Brendan Prappas, a sport management major from West Bloomfield, Michigan.

The group is competing in the ninth annual Community Bank Case Study Competition, sponsored by the Conference of State Bank Supervisors, a nationwide organization of financial regulators. The competition requires student teams to partner with a community bank for a case study, with the topic changing each year.

This year, teams learned how local community banks are recruiting and retaining talent, approaching succession planning and using technology to advance operations.

The other teams in the top five are Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania, Iowa State University, Messiah University in Pennsylvania, and the University of Tennessee at Martin.

The top three teams will be announced July 12 at the CSBS State Federal Supervisory Forum, held this year in Philadelphia.

Field narrowed from 34

The original field of 34 teams, representing 28 colleges and universities, was cut to 14 on May 30. The top five were announced June 7.

“We have been impressed with the high-quality work presented by these teams, which have really given great insight into the topic,” said CSBS Executive Vice President, Policy & Supervision Karen Lawson. “The final round of judging will be very challenging.”

Trine University has been part of the competition, which is open to undergraduate students in all fields of study, for the past eight years.

Trine teams have partnered each year with Farmers State Bank, headquartered in LaGrange, Indiana. The students visit the bank for an exploratory meeting with management team early in the spring semester, then spend most of the semester analyzing the bank as a part of their senior capstone project.

Marek Kolar, Ph.D., faculty advisor, said the competition allows Trine students to practice and demonstrate higher-level learning skills such as analysis, synthesis and evaluation, as well as specific business-related skills including research, financial analysis, writing and presentation in the business context, teamwork and leadership.

Each student member and faculty advisor of the first-place winning team will receive a $1,000 scholarship and present their findings at the Community Banking Research Conference in St. Louis in early October. Their work will be published in the annual CSBS Journal of Community Bank Case Studies. Teams that place second and third also will receive scholarships and have their works published in the journal.  

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